Interview with Dzordan

by NdK (November 2001)

If I would have mentioned the name of Dzordan a couple of years ago I think that only a few people would have recognized this name. But nowadays everybody seems to know the works of this Polish all-round graphician and his name is climbing rapidly on every chart. Looking at the images of Dzordan makes you realize why this graphician is so popular today - his images seem to breathe the love Dzordan has for graphics. The truecolor images are simply stunning and his 8bit graphics have qualities that a lot of 24bit graphics can not provide!
Although many people might have seen the graphics from Dzordan, there is not much information floating around on the web about the man himself. Hopefully this interview will change that. Happy reading.

So Dzordan, Thank you for giving the GFXZone the opportunity to do an interview. Can you tell a bit about yourself?

Hi all. My name is Mariusz Jarosz. I am 23 Years old. I was born in Opole in Poland on the 2nd of June 1978. I live there with my parents and brother (who is a graphician too). Most of the people from my groups live in this city. I am a member of Moons and Anadune. Painting is my hobby and passion. I like classical music and old painters. At the moment I am studying Computer Systems of Automatics & Robotics. Soon I am going to finish my study and then I will have to write my diploma work.

I don't know what's more to say. I think my graphics can say more about me than I can write using words. Pixels are the universal language for graphicians. :))
I know you are a big Amiga fan, can you tell us a bit about your computer history?

My history with computers is not very long. Amiga is my first and last computer. Eight years ago I got my first Amiga, I was really young when I went to the Amiga-shop with my daddy. The new model Amiga 1200 looked so great, so I bought it and I was one of the first owners of this model in Poland. The only thing that is changed on this computer is that I now have a turbo card (MC68060 66Mhz) and 32MB RAM. All this extra RAM is not really needed because I can also work on a pure 1200 with 4MB fast ram.
     This is a grab of Dzordan's Amiga workbench
Can you explain what makes Amiga so special for you?

I have worked on my Amiga for 8 years now, which is 40% of my life. In this long time I have managed to murder 6 mouses while painting on DPaint, Brilliance & PPaint (yes, I am a killer :)). These 3 programs are very important for me because I learned to paint on them. I remember how I played my first games on my Amiga with my brother, we killed 4 joystisks!!

Amiga is very old but still has a great system and new hardware gadgets like PPC or BVision. On this machine you can work comfortably without needing gigabytes of memory, but unfortunately new hardware is too expensive and not economical. The programs are small and easy for everyone.

Amiga isn't only about the hardware, software or the scene for me. Amiga is just a big part of my life. Amiga helps me remember about my ideals and dreams.

So you don't feel the need to work with newer technologies?

I am not afraid to work with new platforms and technologies, but I do not want to have these things at home. Home should be a place for relaxation, and not for working!

Hardware isn't the most important thing when creating handmade 8 or 24bit graphics. I really hate watching those new age pictures that are painted using standard effects, sometimes I think that those pictures are made by the person who coded the plugin or the paint program, because it is not needed to be an artist to paint that stuff. It is a real problem for scene graphicians (2D & 3D) to find a border between Art and image processing.

Hardware is important in 3D, but here it is never fast enough! Most professional programs are avaible only for graphics stations. I think that Virtual reality is our future.

What do you mean?

I think that 3D programs like Lightwave, 3D-Studio or Maya are great modern tools for artists. Hardware is getting faster all the time and it is not as expensive as it was before. I like to imagine what painters will be able to do with the new gadgets that will be released in the next 10 years. Or what we will paint when we are 60 years old!

But I also think that people will destroy the earth with their ozone holes, nuclear wars and mad cows. When we destroy our world we will have to create a new world. People will live under ground in a dark world, with new problems. Virtual world might offer a beter perspective than real life. I think that Virtual Realty will provide possibilities for a new sexual revolution without Aids. This may be important because there are too many gen mutations and in the future it may be a problem to find a girl who can give you healthy children. The government doesn't let people cross their genes with controlling it.

Also food may be a problem in the future. At the moment it is BSE, mad cows and foot and mouth desease. Meat is dangerous. Vegetarian food has many pesticides and dangerous elements. There is not enough good H2O for everybody. So everything might be like in that movie, "Matrix".

Yes, what you describe sounds a lot like a movie script. What do you expect for "The Matrix, part 2"?

My vision wasn't only fantasy, some scientists think that it is a posibility, and I just agree with them. As for Matrix II, I'm sure that they will be using more modern phones :). And ofcourse there will be beter special effects.

Do you use your computer for anything else besides creating graphics?

Well, I know one thing certain: I never want to be a scene coder. I hate it and I can't write anything interesting in assembler. Also, I don't compose music. I think that most good coders are on the Amiga scene. Coders are great artists, but you'll have to admit they can only work on one platform.
Dzordan is programming filters and tools for his diploma work      I can't really code but I did some simple programs. Most of my programs I wrote for my Study. I started with Pascal. Then I learned ACL, which is a special language for programming robots. Later I learned C on my Amiga, with SasC and GoldEd.

In school I had to write some stupid programs for Linux, and I had to write many programs in Intel8053 assembler, technical drivers for example. I really can't remember all the things I had to do. At the moment I am programming a paint program for my diploma work, and this is done in C++. Programing filters and tools for a paint program is ok for me, but system things are sometimes a bit strange. This is actually the reason why I don't like PC, for me AmigaOS and Directory Opus Magellan is better than Windows, Linux and Macintosh. I will never forget about my roots and Amiga.
I think that it is impossible to be really good in everything. Poland is a country where you have to learn too many things that you don't need - I just want to paint and do nothing else. Soon I will finish my study and then I will never have to write another program again :)))) When I finish learning I will propably start working in an "advertising firm". I have always dreamt about working in the Disney studios as a 3D animator, but it is only a dream.

Who knows, somebody from Disney or a similar company might read this! What inspired you to be a graphician?

I always wanted to do graphics. When I was a kid my mother gave me many tools to paint and I painted my first images everywhere! On the walls, on my parents and even on my younger brother too :). I started using my computer to paint long before I was active on the scene, the scene never was the first place for me.

You actually painted ON your little brother? I bet your mother is really glad she didn't give you a tattoo gun to play with!! What do you think of tattoos?

I used to dream about making tattoos on an elephant! Just think how many things you can draw on this big animal :) What I don't like is that tatoos are very hard to remove. What if I want to change my tattoo every month ?!?!? In school my friends asked me to paint some "sexy women" on them but this was just a joke. I clearly remember the face of my teacher when she looked at us :-)

Are there any graphicians that you admire in the scene or outside of it?

I don't remember all painters I like, but I remember their graphics. Here is a list of some of the artists I admire:

Interesting to read that you start your list with classical painters, what do you admire in the work of classical painters?

I like to read books about classical painters. In my city we have some great libraries, where I spend much time with albums. There I read a lot about classical painters. In their time only a genius could be a painter. Now everyone can paint something with a computer, a scanner and a camera. Classical painters were like sciencists, they always wanted to understand the world. They weren't only painters, they were also sculptors, engineers, physicists and architects. I feel big respect for them.

Do you paint without a computer as well?

I like painting using traditional tools too, the computer is not necessary for me. In this way I painted a lot of big pictures, most of my best pictures are too big to scan! Many pictures I gave to my friends and I don't have them at home anymore. Sometimes I repaint these images on my Amiga.

My favourite subjects are Fantasy, landscapes, women, faces and cartoons. In real life I like fast techniques pastels and pencils. Usualy if I have an idea but don't have any time to work it out, I paint the picture without a computer. Painters must know some rules about colors, perspective or biology of animals and humans, but they don't have to paint using these rules. Art has no limits. Artists can really paint everything they want to. Technical limits aren't very important. So art is a freedom.

I like to make new versions of my old pictures. For example, I have made a newer version of the Orcas 8bit image (that finished 3rd on Astrosyn in the 24bit). This remake is in true color and is called Delfinki 2.
About your image "Marchewkowe pole". Who is the main character in this image? I remember seeing a similar character in a few of Lazur's images. Is this character a Polish national hero I should know about?

On Lazurs picture the main character is a "Kid with pumpkin on head". He was the first communistic president in Poland. Now he has big mausoleum like Stalin in Russia :) On my picture are 2 main characters from a cartoon called "Jacek i placek" (Translation: "About 2 brothers that stole a moon"). They are Polish national heroes that fight communisn :)

Ok, I see :-) What is the inspiration for the image?

Music often is inspiration for my pictures. For example, Marchewkowe pole was inspirated by a song from a Polish band called Lady Punk.

Sometimes I have an idea and all the pixels of an image in my head. This image was painted very fast because I was scared that I might forget to paint something, so in total it was about 2 days of painting. This is very fast for 8bit images in high resolution for me!

How did you start the background in the first step?

On Brilliance v2.0 a graphician has many tools just for pixel painting, and I use all of them!

On the first steps there are some shadows on the foreground! Does this mean you already had a plan for the shadows when you created the background?

The first step is just a plain background. It was an easy vision field so I added shadows before I started painting the carrots. In cartoon visions everything is easy to plan, all is unreal.

What do you think is important when you are positioning your characters and objects in your images?

Pictures shouldn't have too many objects in one corner.

And what about that sweet texture on the trunk of the tree?

This is just a lot of work.

How do you plan your palette?

I don't plan a palette at all before I start working on an image. When I start painting the first steps are planned hue and saturation values. Luminosity isn't a lineair function so when painting I will not use many colors that I don't need.

Colors are magic. You have to remember that the same colors may look different in another location on the image. So one color may actually work as many colors and eventually 256 colors may look like many more colors. I think this is very cool. It makes creating 8bit pictures into some magicians trick :-)

Can you remember how long you worked on this image in total?

In total I really worked on this image for two days. The next two weeks was time I needed to fix some "bad pixels".

And how satisfied are you with the image?

Pixel technique 98%, paint technique 70% and the idea of the picture 66%

That is very accurate :-) Any more funny stuff about the image?

I was proud when on Horizon people said that this 8 bit "Marchewkowe pole" was 24 bit.
     Marchewkowe pole - step 1 - Background
Marchewkowe pole - step 2 - Added some shapes
Marchewkowe pole - step 3 - Adding many details
Marchewkowe pole - final
Ok, enough about the image. Can you give us a description of your history in the scene?

I am one of the founders of the Amiga group Moons. Most members started working in the scene after me. The first Moons intro was released on the Rush Hours party. My start in the scene came when Anadune organized the first Gravity party in Opole, which was 6 years ago. I had selected 2 pictures from my work and I entered those pics in the graphics competition. I felt so very proud when I saw these pictures on the BIG SCREEN. At this party I finished 6th or 7th place. One year later, at the second Gravity party I got third place.

I then started to be a member of Anadune and I worked with Mr.Acryl as a 3D graphician on a 64KB Amiga intro called Whizz. Two years later I had 2 third places on the Astrosyn party and after that there were many parties. I wasn't a very popular graphician, but this did not matter because this only gave me the power to work harder.

A couple of years ago Kazik from Anadune asked me if I wanted to go to the Horizon party. At first I didn't want to go because this was a party only for PC!!, but I am really happy that I changed my mind because my 8 bit picture won 2nd place and this was my first 2nd place ever! For the first time in my life I started to feel that I was a good painter. Then on Satellite 99 Anadune's Amiga demo called Y'aga finished 2nd place and it only would have needed 2 more votes to win! In 2000 my 8bit image Usta Milcza won the pixel competition at Horizon 2000 (my dreams came true)

Here are some more statistics:
1st place (1) Horizon 2K (8bit)
2nd places (5) Horizon 99(8bit), Horizon 2K(24bit), Horizon 2K(3D), Satellite 2K(2D), Mekka 2K+1(2D)
3rd places (4) Gravity 2 (2D), Astrosyn 99 (8bit), Astrosyn 99 (24bit), Horizon 2K (3D)

You have visited a lot of Polish parties. Are Polish parties different from other parties?

Polish parties are smaller compared to the parties in Western Europe. I think that people from these parties don't understand the traditions or will be shocked by Polish parties and some sceners. Now there are too many lamers. I know that it is stupid, but many sceners think that they are better than the rest of the scene, because they are on the Polish, PC or Amiga scene. Stupid lamers "wars" kill our scene. There are too many of these lamers and not enough demos.

These are some differences between Amiga and PC parties:
  • Different type of people. In Poland a big part of the PC sceners have long hairs and strange handles like munio, citko or mroowek ...)
  • Different type of drinks. Amiga sceners drink more wodka and beer.
  • on PC parties there are more demos. I like Sunflowers products.
  • on Amiga parties there are not many demos but some products are really cool. I like intros by Mavey/Potion and demos by Zig/Flopi.
  • on Amiga parties there are more crazy competition. Very popular are bek and pierd competitions.
  • on PC parties you must look on windows bigscreen (it looks alien)
  • on Amiga parties you may look on workbench bigscreen.

Do a lot of funny things happen to you on these parties?

  • They never write my handle correctly, so Yordan, Jordan, Dûordan, Dzordan & d¿ordan are my handles too :)
  • On Horizon '99 when I went to one PC from the party organization, it started to give problems. Kazik from Anadune told that it was my fault because I was the only Amiga scener at this party. People told me that I had bad energy!! :(
  • On my first party, Gravity 1, I entered two pictures in one competition. It is great to be unknown :)
  • I was proud when on Xenium most peoples said that my 320x256x8 "dziadek" was 640x512x24
  • I wasn't proud when someone on Horizon said that my raytraced image "mroowa" was pixelized.

What about the "Polish style", the style differences between Polish and other graphics?

I think that national culture is one of the reasons for our style. The same can be said for graphicians from Germany, they also have their specific style. And thus it is normal. The Polish graphics are specific because there are many sceners that never operated outside the Polish scene. So we have our specific style, our specific graphics, musics, demos, etc.

And do you think there are any similarities between your graphics and Lazur?

Lazur and me have the same scene roots. We live in the same part of Poland, and Lazur was also in Anadune. I think that this might be a reason why some people think that we have a similar style. I am sure that Lazur feels many different things the same as me. Simply because someone paints in highres and 8bit, people say that you paint in Lazur style.
But there are more differences:

A1. Technical computer aspects (similarities): I think that the roots of this style is 8bit high resolution pictures created on Amiga and Brilliance v2.0. The palette should be optimal for the picture. Many details, good anti-aliasing. We don't cry that pixelling is a lot of work because hires has many pixels.

A2. Technical computer aspects (differences): Lazur and me use different functions to make our palette and to shade. The "Pixelled dithering" we use to make a lot of colors is not the same style. Lazur uses more Floyd in his pictures, just look at the sky in his images Contrast and Noise for example. I hate Floyd dithered pictures. Also, I use more tints compared to Lazur. Our style of mixing colors is very different.

The reason for this is that Amiga was my first computer, and Lazur had an Atari before his Amiga. When Lazur painted on Amiga he did not have a very good monitor, processor and much memory. And now there are many new paint programs available on Amiga that weren't available before. Everything has changed so much that it is not easy to compare this technical aspect. Today Lazur paints more in true color and I paint more in 8bit.

B. Techical art aspect (differences): I have seen some in-between steps of Lazur pictures and I think that when Lazur starts painting he first makes a sketch of the scene and then he paints the background. I always start by painting the background before I plan the rest of my picture. Most of Lazur's images have a "comics line" first sketch, all is planned before he starts working on it. My work is sometimes very chaotic and impulsive. I will start painting the base picture with planned shades and many fast lines. We don't feel the same colors. We don't use similar compositions. I don't copy as many images as Lazur did. I heard on TV that making copies is important for a young artist to learn them how to paint. I think that the author of the picture that you copy is your teacher, and it is great when DaVinci teaches you :-)

C. Artistic aspects: In pictures technique is never more important than the idea. Many pictures have some emotional conditions, this art is very personal and secret. Some pictures aren't easy to understand at all. There are many fantasy pictures.

Last words: I love Lazurs art. He is a very important artist for me, because he was the first painter on the scene to paint so natural in 8bit. He kicks ass compared to all the other lowres painters. In Poland Yoga always was first and Lazur was second. Now everybody knows Lazur and Yoga is unknown. Time has shown who really was a winner. I don't paint the same as Lazur. The Dzordan style is more fresh and modern. We are very different artists.

What about the titles of your images? A lot of your images have Polish titles.

Polish names fit more to my pictures. For example the image Smak i zapach. When this would be translated to taste and smell of orange it may have no sense for people that haven't listened to the old polish song Zapach pomaranczy. Also, I never thought that my pictures would be watched by people from abroad. In the future I will translate titles.

How do you prepare for a party?

I never paint any pictures specially for a party. Before I go to the party I just select something that I have painted before, because I hate to do anything at the last moment. When I am painting I like to paint when I am alone in my room. I feel good when I create new pictures, and I will paint forever. I want just more Amiga parties in Poland.

Ok, lets start wrapping this interview up. One thing I have always wondered about is your nick/alias. What is the "official" story behind it?

My nick/alias for the scene is:
(it needs a point over the "Z"), so in standard ASCII I need two lines to write my nick. In Amiga PC ASCII it is "Dûordan" and on Windows standard it will look like "D¿ordan".
Dzordan is taken from the basketball player Michael Jordan from the Chiago Bulls. Jordan is writen phonetic in the Polish language. Some non-Polish people have problems with my nick, but they know my nick from my pictures. You can translate my nick to "Dzordan" or "Jordan". My friends from school gave me this nick when I showed them my talent for the basketball game.

Really, are you so good at playing basketball?

I don't remember :-)

Hehe, ofcourse not. Any last thoughts before we end this interview?

I want to greet my friends:
Slider, Mr.Acryl & Gosia, Hasid & Marta, Raider & Kasia, Madd & Mustafa, Glutem & Goocio & Angelo, Caro with Family, BOnsai, Ubik.

Thank you very much for your time and success in your future plans as a graphician!

Visit our Dzordan gallery.

Dzordan can be reached at this email address.

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